In 2007, the Parent Café process was created and developed by parent leaders from Strengthening Families Illinois to educate families on the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors, a strengths-based system for parents and caregivers that helps keep children safe and families strong.
The Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors are:
Resilience: Parent Resilience
Relationships: Positive Social Connections
Support: Concrete Support in Times of Need
Knowledge: Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
Communication: Social and Emotional Competence
At Be Strong Families, we continue to take Parent Cafés to the next level and evolve the way we work with parents and caregivers. For us, every interaction is an opportunity to nurture the spirit of family, promote well-being, and prevent violence.
Parent Cafés are physically and emotionally safe spaces where parents and caregivers talk about the challenges and victories of raising a family. Through individual deep self-reflection and peer-to-peer learning, participants explore their strengths, learn about the Protective Factors, and create strategies from their own wisdom and experiences to help strengthen their families.
Cafés are carefully-designed, structured discussions that use the principles of adult learning and family support. They are highly sustainable with training reinforcement, institutional support, and a commitment to an approach that engages and affirms parents as leaders. Participants leave Parent Cafés feeling inspired, energized, and excited to put into practice what they’ve learned.
The Be Strong Families Parent Café model has touched thousands of families through Race to the Top Early Learning Grants, SAMHSA Project Launch Grants, Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention initiatives, Child Welfare Systems, Family Resource and Support Centers, Early Childhood Development Centers, and other school- and community-based initiatives.